Helen Otterson

Artist Statement

Both of my inspirational sources live in harsh environments. Disease creates a harsh environment in which the survival of healthy cells is precarious. The cells must split and transform to survive. Succulents live in dry, hot environments, and must generate leaves and tendrils that adapt for survival. Each struggle to live, and each creates in its humble way beautiful forms. These combinations of botanical forms and biologic imagery reflect the cohesive integration of form and function found in the natural world. My work is a hybrid of these cells and plant forms that share the drive to survive. Capitalizing on nature’s fractal patterns, I create organic forms that repeat, yet change and are similar, yet distinctive from nature.

Inspired by the mysteries of nature, these ambiguous hybrids of cellular and organic forms celebrate life. Creating forms with fluid movement, I combine materials such as clay, glass or bronze, to capture the beauty of nature’s organic form. These materials are ideal mediums to showcase the rich surfaces and curvilinear components found in nature. The bright color palette draws on aspects in natural world and reflects the celebration of the pursuit of life and beauty of the natural world.


Helen Otterson received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Kansas City Art Institute and a Master of Fine Art from the University of Miami. Exhibited throughout the United States and internationally, her work has been published in American Craft Magazine and Ceramic Monthly. In addition Otterson’s work is published in books such as Cast: Art and Objects Made Using Humanity’s Most Transformational Process, 500 Sculptures, and 500 Figures in Clay. Helen’s ceramic and glass sculptures are part of the permanent collections at the Mulvane Art Museum, Nicolaysen Art Museum, and the Plains Art Museum. She has completed artist residencies at the International Ceramic Studio in Kecskemét, Hungary, A.I.R. Vallauris, France, Anderson Ranch Arts Center and the Northern Clay Center.